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Three Gwinnett teachers are 'Outstanding Cultural Educators'

Three Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers have been recognized as "Outstanding Cultural Educators" for the 2007-08 school year. The honor was awarded to the educators by the Visiting International Faculty Program, the largest international exchange program linking U.S. schools and teachers worldwide.

Gwinnett's three honorees are:

· Rubia Castro of Louise Radloff Middle, an English to Speakers of Other Languages teacher visiting from Colombia

Patty Heitmuller, the principal of Radloff Middle, said, "Mrs. Castro radiates enthusiasm for teaching and for students. She is a consistently positive and hard working presence on our staff. She has a wonderful sensitivity for students new to our school from other countries, and she always helps to ensure the students make a successful transition to U.S. schools and GCPS expectations."

· María González of Mill Creek High, a Spanish teacher visiting from Venezuela

Jim Markham, the principal of Mill Creek High, said, "Ms. González is a cultural ambassador to our school. She is an incredible resource to other foreign language teachers. She is a 'go to' person as she is constantly 'teaching teachers' and helping them to enrich their Spanish vocabulary. ... She goes above and beyond the expectation of a teacher, providing support in her classroom as well as providing tutorial assistance for students."

· Emma Mannion of Five Forks Middle, a mathematics teacher visiting from Ireland

Mary Hensien, the principal of Five Forks Middle, said, "Emma Mannion is an expert in her field. Her mathematics knowledge is evident as she teaches with confidence and a real love of her subject. Her math competitions/trivia for students and teachers encourages all to think and expand their math knowledge. She challenges students and recognizes them. She is a 'bell-to-bell' teacher who excites students about her subject because she is so positive in her approach."

The VIF program recognized six teachers, including the three educators from Gwinnett, at the Professional Learning Conference in late January.

This school year, a total of 55 international teachers are teaching in Gwinnett County Public Schools and 206 are teaching in Georgia. The Gwinnett teachers represent 16 different nations, including Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Spain, South Africa, United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Jackson Elementary honored

For the last seven years, Jackson Elementary and Scientific Atlanta have partnered, working together to focus on the common goal of student success.

The relationship has earned both organizations the 2008 Junior Achievement School/Business Partnership of the Year Award. The annual award is presented to partners in education that focus on increasing student achievement.

"The excitement level is high at Jackson Elementary," said Ruth Markham, Jackson Elementary's principal. "It is a great honor to receive this award."

The partnership is centered around student learning. With the guidance from Jackson Elementary and Junior Achievement, Scientific Atlanta volunteers bring the business world into the classroom. Markham said the volunteers inspire the students as they see the value of business and economics in their own lives through the sharing of personal business experiences.

"The lessons bring a real-world understanding to the students," Markham said.

Scientific Atlanta volunteers visit Jackson Elementary and speak to students about personal financial literacy, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking and global business perspectives.

Jackson Elementary and Scientific Atlanta will be honored Saturday at the 19th Annual Atlanta Business Hall of Fame at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta.

PTA council co-presidents

recognized for service

The Gwinnett County Board of Education saluted Holly Melton and Angela Monetta, the co-presidents of the Gwinnett Council of PTAs, for their outstanding service to Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Each February, the school board recognizes the anniversary of the National PTA's founding. In observance of the National PTA's founding 111 years ago, the board proclaimed Feb. 17 as PTA Day in Gwinnett County Public Schools, acknowledging the PTA as a valued partner in GCPS' quest to become a system of world-class schools.

In conjunction with this year's recognition, the board also recognized the leadership of the current co-presidents of the Gwinnett Council of PTAs.

Melton and Monetta were recognized for outstanding service in support of the system's local PTA units, for initiating improvements in the council that will strengthen its effectiveness and responsiveness and for their assistance on critical issues affecting Gwinnett's children, including the recent general obligation bond referendum.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.